From Endurance to Dressage
On Friday morning, Izzy tried to give himself a concussion. Or maybe just a black eye. I spent a hot minute Googling whether horses can be concussed and discovered that yes, they can experience concussion, but traumatic brain injury is quite uncommon. Interested in the topic? Check out this article by Equus. TBI or not, Izzy did take quite a blow to his noggin.
We all know that Izzy is an ask questions later kind of guy. He doesn't always think his decisions through very clearly, and on occasion, he has been known to make questionable life choices. Friday was one of those moments. As I've done on more than one occasion, I climbed into Izzy's feeder to clean out some weedy hay and other leftovers. He came over to assist, nibbling at my neck and grabbing onto my shirt tails. When he got tired of me, he walked over to the gate, ready to go play. When I climbed out of the feed bin, I smacked my hands together as I beat off the dust.
Whether it was the clapping noise my hands made or something else all together, Izzy whirled and bolted straight through his shelter. I am not sure how he missed me in his flight of terror, but thankfully, I walked away unscathed. He did not. As he charged between the two poles, he threw his head up and whacked himself right between the eyes on the bottom edge of the cross bar that supports the roof.
I heard a loud clang followed by stampeding hooves. To say I was a bit startled would be an understatement. After cringing, I blew out an exasperated breath. Now what? If isn't ten things, it's another 4,876. I watched as Izzy threw an out and out fit. He bucked. He stomped his feet. He threw himself to the ground rolling vigorously. If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought conking his melon caused him to colic.
When he seemed a little more quiet - no sense in both of us having a near death experience, I walked up to him to try and check him out. Izzy loves to nuzzle and gently lip me, but his nips tried to become well-aimed bites. I gave his nose a quick smack out of self defense which sent him off on another bucking fit. I decided he needed a few minutes on his own for my safety if no one else's.
The ranch owner and I stood outside the fence next to the barn watching him. She didn't want me going anywhere near him as he seemed almost dangerous. I agreed. Within just a few minutes though, I could see that he was settling down. When I went and put his halter on, he hung his head rather sheepishly. I pulled off his fly mask and saw a very thin scratch right between his eyes. It wasn't even bleeding. I was worried that he would develop a huge goose egg, but he never did.
I walked him out onto the lawn where he enthusiastically began to chomp grass. I pulled out my cell phone and gave CC, Izzy's body worker, a quick call to explain what had happened. As I knew he would, CC explained that looking at him right after an incident wouldn't be wise. If there were to be any swelling or trauma, we would need to let it subside first before trying to do an adjustment. CC said he'd come down on Tuesday to look Izzy over.
In the meantime, he suggested I ride the next day to see what we had which I did. I had a lesson on Saturday and explained to Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, what had happened so that he would be prepared if my ride went south suddenly. Other than being mindful that Izzy might be a bit sore, we were able to do a regular lesson. I rode him again on both Sunday and Monday, and he was quiet and workmanlike.
As promised, CC came out on Tuesday. The visit took all of ten minutes, and most of it was spent telling CC what had happened. Izzy was actually in great shape, he needed just a bit of work at his C7 and one or two ribs, but those are his regular spots, so we weren't concerned. Considering he whacked his head squarely in the middle of his forehead while bolting, I am grateful that he's no worse for wear.
If you wanted to hear bells ringing, horse, you could have just asked.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: